Soccer player to serve 8-15 years in prison over punch that killed ref

Friday March 13th, 2015

A soccer player was sentenced on Friday to at least eight years in prison over a punch that killed a referee during a game last summer, reports the Associated Press.

The man, Bassel Saad, 36, had pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. The referee, Jon Bieniewicz, 44, reportedly died two days after he was struck.

According to the AP, Bieniewicz intended to call a penalty that would have resulted in Saad, an auto mechanic from Dearborn, Mich., being ejected from the game.

Saad reportedly pleaded no contest to attempted assault and battery after being accused of repeatedly hitting another player in the head during a soccer match in 2005.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cameron ruled Saad's involvement in that incident inadmissible.

Cameron said Friday that Saad personifies "everything that is wrong" with the "escalation of violence in sports," according to the Detroit Free Press.

Saad's maximum sentence is 15 years.

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